The Conscience of the King
Star-trek tos-season1-13
Season 1, Episode 13
General Information
Series Star Trek
Air date December 8, 1966
Written by Barry Trivers
Directed by Gerd Oswald
Episode guide
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Star Trek episodes


Kirk suspects an actor of being a mass murderer. He invites the acting company aboard his ship to investigate further, but soon finds that a mysterious person is murdering all those connected to the murderer.

Plot Summary

Stardate 2817.6 - 2819.8

Twenty Years ago, an exotic fungus wiped out the food supply of a planet. A man named Kodos then took charge and began to execute 4000 of the planet based on theories and eugenics. When relief ships arrive, they only find an unidentifiable body. They presume that Kodos is dead. [1]Macbeth looks at handsTwenty years after those events, Kirk is asked to confirm a discovery made by Dr. Leighton. After watching a play, he learns that Leighton's real reason for calling him was to confirm if a certain actor, named Anton Karidian, was really Kodos the Executioner. At first, Kirk is skeptical of the accusation, but he becomes suspicious when he looks into the background of Kodos and Anton Karidian. Looking through the computer, he learns Anton does not have any records prior to Kodos' death.

After beaming back to the planet, Kirk meets Anton's daughter, Lenore. Kirk begins to fall for her and the two decide to take a stroll alone. They soon find the body of Dr. Leighton and Kirk becomes further convinced that Anton Karidian could be Kodos. Kirk then arranges for the acting party to be picked up by the Enterprise. When Lenore is beamed aboard, she does not realize that Kirk had arranged for the acting group's original carrier to strand them. She then asks Kirk to give the group a ride to their next destination in exchange for a performance from the group. [2]Assassin sprays poison in Riley's drinkKirk checks the computer library and learns that a crew member named Kevin Riley is also a witness who can recognize Kodos. Kirk then demotes him to engineering section of the ship. His descion raises Spock's suspicions and he investigates Kirk, Kevin Riley and all others related to Kodos. He finds out that the people had searched had all witnessed Kodos and that Kirk and Riley are the only surviving witnesses. When Kevin Riley is poisoned, Spock deduces that Kodos is on the ship and that Kirk will be the next target. He brings his suspicions to his captain and Kirk becomes resolved to confirm if Anton is Kodos.

A humming sound begins to echo through the room. Spock and Kirk realize that it is a phaser set on overload. Kirk orders an evacuation because the phaser could blow several decks. When he throws the phaser into space using a garbage chute, Kirk runs into Anton. He questions him and puts him through a voice test. Kirk's questioning of Anton leads to a quarrel between Kirk and Lenore.

Kirk checks the results of the voice test. He finds that the voices are nearly identical, but Kirk wants more confirmation. Meanwhile, Riley overhears McCoy talking about Kirk's suspicions that Kodos might be on board. Riley steals a phaser and heads to the acting's group's performance of Hamlet to avenge his parents who were killed by Kodos. [3]Lenore cries into Kirk's shoulderAt the play, Kirk talks Riley out of killing Anton. Behind the curtains, Lenore admits that she was the one who had killed the witnesses. Kirk overhears this and asks the two to come with him. Swiftly, Lenore grabs a phaser from a nearby crewmen and threatens to destroy the ship by setting it to overload. Kirk makes a move and she tries to shoot him. Instead, her father is shot when he moves in the line of fire. The death of her father causes Lenore to lose her mind. She forgets that her father had died and still believes that Anton is performing in front of cheering crowds.

Production Notes

This episode was Grace Lee Whitney's last episode in the original series until the first Star Trek movie. It has been speculated that Whitney may have been fired due to either drinking heavy or drugs. After Whitney was fired, her character's lines were passed on to other characters. In "Daggers of the Mind," her lines were given to the character named Helen Noel. Officially, the shows' creators and producers have said that they felt that Janice and Kirk were getting too close and they wanted Kirk's character to be more open to other romances.

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